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WIREs Energy Environ.
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City‐scale urban sustainability: Spatiotemporal mapping of distributed solar power for New York City

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Abstract Research into urban sustainability increasingly deploys advanced analytics and large‐scale data to investigate possible sustainable energy options. This paper reviews several available data‐driven approaches that answer urban sustainability questions. One such approach is applied to identify energy consumption and rooftop photovoltaic (PV) generation potential in New York City at the electricity network level with the objective of improving the city's resilience to expected impacts of climate change. Electric system resilience is, in part, dependent on the spatial and temporal distribution of consumption and potential sustainable energy generation which is investigated here by separating the city into 68 electricity networks and evaluating their generation‐consumption interaction pattern. The analysis reveals that New York City could be home to about 10 GWp of rooftop solar installations—sufficient to cover approximately 25% of annual city electricity consumption and 53% of daylight hour consumption. Localized electricity import–export dimensions are explored for each of the 68 electricity networks and we identify an excess 3.1 TWh electricity supply per year if the entire technical potential of rooftop solar PV is deployed. This excess electricity supply is roughly equivalent to an annual $734 million value which could benefit low‐income areas in the city. This article is categorized under: Energy Infrastructure ≥ Economics and Policy Photovoltaics ≥ Systems and Infrastructure Energy Infrastructure ≥ Systems and Infrastructure Photovoltaics ≥ Economics and Policy
City‐wide electric load on July 19, 2013 for noon to 6 p.m. (corresponding with all‐time system peak conditions) when a full New York Solar City scenario is considered (assuming all 10 GW of possible rooftop solar is installed). Hourly solar PV generation profiles were computed using the results of the suitability assessment (Tables 1 and 2) and NREL's System Advisor Model (SAM). No electricity consumption data for Roosevelt, Roosevelt Island, Coop City, or West Chester Island was provided by the 2013 dataset and have been excluded here. These networks are comparatively small—for instance, Roosevelt Island only has about 11,000 people—and their exclusion has limited effects on the overall analysis
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Annual solar electricity generation and electricity consumption in the 68 Con Edison networks. Note: The 68 networks are based on Con Edison classification as per 2013 data reporting. No electricity consumption data for Roosevelt, Roosevelt Island, Coop City, or West Chester Island was provided by the 2013 dataset and have been excluded here. These networks are comparatively small—for instance, Roosevelt Island only has about 11,000 people—and their exclusion has limited effects on the overall analysis
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Overview of New York City's in‐city power generation fleet by fuel type and size in relation to the city's vulnerability to flooding. Note: Flood data from Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) Database maintained by FEMA depicts flood risk information for 1%‐annual‐chance flood events (100 year flood) and the 0.2%‐annual‐chance flood event (500 year flood). DFIRM is the basis for floodplain management, mitigation, and insurance activities for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Operable electric generating power plants in the United States data from Energy Information Administration (EIA), including its Annual Electric Generator Report (EIA‐860), Monthly Update to the Annual Electric Generator Report (EIA‐860 M), and Power Plant Operations Report (EIA‐923)
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New York City technical potential to become a “Solar City.” Note: the 68 electricity networks are based on Con Edison classification as per 2013 data reporting. LIDAR 3D model of the city's >1,000,000 buildings analyzed for rooftop morphology and PV‐specific suitability criteria. Rooftop size, slope, azimuth, and shading are considered in the analysis
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Annual electricity generation and electricity consumption in the 68 Con Edison networks for daylight‐hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Note: The 68 networks are based on Con Edison classification as per 2013 data reporting. No electricity consumption data for Roosevelt, Roosevelt Island, Coop City, or West Chester Island was provided by the 2013 dataset and have been excluded here. These networks are comparatively small—for instance, Roosevelt Island only has about 11,000 people—and their exclusion has limited effects on the overall analysis
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Network‐by‐network overview for NYC of the ratio between rooftop solar electricity generation and electricity consumption for July 19, 2013 at 2 p.m. Comparative analysis across networks is enabled by digitizing the 68 networks in ArcGIS software. Note: The 68 networks are based on Con Edison classification as per 2013 data reporting. No electricity consumption data for Roosevelt, Roosevelt Island, Coop City, or West Chester Island was provided by the 2013 dataset and have been excluded here. These networks are comparatively small—for instance, Roosevelt Island only has about 11,000 people—and their exclusion has limited effects on the overall analysis
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